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  • Cary Greene

Should Estevan Florial Fit Into the Yankees Future Plans?

Should Estevan Florial Fit Into the Yankees Future Plans?

Late October Thoughts by Cary Greene

October 22, 2023

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Today’s article is a tribute to Andy Singer - SSTN’s Senior Writer, and the author of the one regular article I never miss: The SSTN Weekly Mailbag! After eagerly reading Andy's latest edition, I began to ponder his many outstanding points and I seemed to focus on the future of the Yankees former uber-toolsy can’t miss prospect Estevan Florial.


Personally I don’t think Florial, at this stage of his career, is an everyday centerfielder who a team should plan around. That said, I think he will be a late bloomer, and either a patient team with plenty of roster spots with which to stash prospects in the hopes that they will pan out, or a team that happens to acquire Florial at the right point in his development, might just strike one heck of a cost saving bargain.


As Andy pointed out, Florial is very toolsy, but he doesn’t believe that Florial is a good defensive center fielder. Some time ago, I wrote a piece that attempted to define which position on the diamond was the most important defensive position. Here’s the chart my research came up with:

As you can see, the data suggests that the lion's share of the batted balls that reach the outfield, wind up going to centerfield. Meanwhile, advanced fielding data contradicts Andy’s opinion on Florial’s defense. StatCast had Florial at 1 OAA in centerfield this season and rated him with plus ability when moving to his right and going back on balls. His Arm Strength was meanwhile rated in the 64th percentile in MLB. I contend that Florial is a fine bet to be an above average defensive outfielder at the Big League level. I don’t think he’ll ever turn into Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays, but I’m fine with Florial’s defense and in fact, it’s his aptitude on offense that concerns me the most.


Adjusting to Major League pitching requires a Quadruple-A player, which is what I believe Florial (like so many Yankees prospects seem to be) is right now, to make significant adjustments at the plate in order to become viable Major Leaguers. Therein rests the real challenge for one Estevan Florial.


Like many seemingly wonderful Quadruple-A players, who seem to be stuck in limbo between certain death as a professional baseball player or a glorious career as a multiple time All-Star, Florial’s Triple-A numbers were quite enticing. The chisled 6’1” 195lb Florial posted a .285/.380/.565 slash line this season with Scranton, logging in with an impressive .403 wOBA and a 130 wRC+ across 482 at-bats while jacking 28 home runs and driving in 83 runs. His 13.3% BB-Rate and his 19.9% K-Rate were not red flags, but rather, they were quite the opposite.


Florial’s Triple-A season showed that the super toolsy prospect is starting to catch on. He turned the corner at the highest level of the minor leagues. Unfortunately, the Yankees are out of time with the soon to be 26-year old former super prospect. In prospect speak, the famous rock band Styx kind of sums thing up with the following quote from one of my favorite songs of theirs:


“The jig is up, the news is out

They’ve finally found me

The renegade who had it made

Retrieved for a bounty.


Never more to go astray

This will be the end today

Of the wanted man!”


For whatever the reason(s), the Yankees internal talent evaluators just aren’t high on Florial. In my mind however, a centerfielder with raw power, speed and a decent arm profiles as worst case, a player worth not giving up on or best case, an incredible home grown prospect and answer in centerfield for a team that has been truly starved at this position ever since Burn Baby Burn retired (Bernie Williams).


As I recall, Bernie Williams batted .238 in his first 300 at-bats with the Yankees and things turned out pretty well in that instance, thanks to Buck Showalter being the centrifugal figure in keeping Williams orbiting with the Yankees despite then team owner George Steinbrenner’s desires to trade him. The Boss was frustrated by the team’s difficulty in placing Williams in any of the traditional baseball player molds. Bernie had good speed, but he rarely stole bases due to his poor baserunning instincts. In centerfield, he could track down fly balls and line drives, but he had a well below average throwing arm. He made consistent contact but he had very little power at the time he was vying for a roster spot.


In this writer’s mind, Florial is a prospect that the inept Yankees coaches absolutely have to work with. They need to acclimate him to Big League pitching and if they fail in this endeavor, heads need to roll – starting with Brian Cashman’s. Besides being perennially starved for a centerfielder, the Yankees haven’t had a good left fielder since they snubbed Brett Gardner and turned in the direction of any number of players who either stunk up the joint or got injured.


It also so happens that Florial hits with authority from the left side of the plate, which makes him the rarest of rare breeds. If Brian Cashman loses Florial for nothing or trades him for a pathetic return, I will be lashing out with my pen even more than I already have in today’s article. I’m beyond fed up with Mr. Cashman. I’ve had enough of his and the organization's ineptitude.


With all of this written, I am 100 percent in favor of signing Cody Bellinger. Bellinger is an elite defensive centerfielder who also happens to play first base exceptionally well. He also bats left-handed. The Yankees easily have room for both Bellinger and Florial on the roster and given that the team doesn’t have a left fielder presently, there is zero reason not to carry the highly affordable Florial for the 2024 season. Florial deserves a chance, he’s fresh off a very promising minor league season.


There’s no denying that the Yankees struggle like mad to translate their prospects. Success stories are few and far between with this broken, Bronx based franchise. Is Florial going to become a starting centerfielder? Is he better suited to be a left fielder or perhaps a 4th or 5th outfielder? Let’s turn to the comments section today to flesh all this out.


Mark me down for still wanting my favorite team to continue to work with Estevan Florial, who due to a series of injuries, didn’t exactly develop as quickly as his advanced age suggests he should have. In this writer’s opinion, the Yankees should take a Stick Michael type approach on the grounds that Floral has power and he makes the team stronger up the middle. This is the way. The Yankee way!

39 Kommentare


Andy Singer
Andy Singer
23. Okt. 2023

Cary, greatly appreciate the kind shout-out, and your take is interesting! However, I would like to point out one or two things.


Take Statcast's (and all advanced defensive metrics, really) defensive statistics over such a small sample size with an extreme grain of salt. I don't think there's good stabilization there until we have 2-3 months of data, which we don't have with Florial.


I also want to point out one error above - Florial's strikeout rate was not 19.9% in AAA; it was 29.9%, which is horrendous for repeating the level. The problem with Florial's tools isn't something coaching can fix; you can either recognize pitches out of the hand, or you can't. Florial has never had this abilit…


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Brad Scheller
Brad Scheller
24. Okt. 2023
Antwort an

Thank you for the thoughtful comments

I believe we agree on keeping Florial.

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ldegraphics
23. Okt. 2023

Can Florial be another Bill Robinson?

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Brad Scheller
Brad Scheller
24. Okt. 2023
Antwort an

Fun recollection.


I used to watch Bill Robinson in 1967 and 1968 from box seats right next to the home plate side of the Yankee dugout. A friend of my family had season tickets through his company, and such seats weren't that expensive for companies that wrote off the expenses.


I saw about a dozen live games, and of course followed EVERY televised game. When he was in the on deck circle, I used to shout at him "Please hit to RF to help your average!"


Of course, I knew nothing about hitting mechanics, but just parroted what the Scooter used to say..

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Brad Scheller
Brad Scheller
22. Okt. 2023

I've watched SWB on MiLB streaming feed for the last few years, and kept track of all the prospects. I could see that German could be a good pitcher before he went 18-4. I watched Flo as he progressed from a tools prospect into a player who finally developed the ability to recognize pitches.


Flo has been like many prospects. It took him time to develop, but he always worked hard and always showed improvement.


In my opinion, he is very close to breaking out big. He will never be a Bader or Kiermier (sp?) In CF because his jumps and routes are sometimes suspect. He rarely makes the diving WOW! Plays but typically plays it safe. He does also…


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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
23. Okt. 2023
Antwort an

That would be a really fun outfield, with Pereaza mixed in as well.

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jjw49
22. Okt. 2023

Given how Cashman and Yankees operate..... I can see Florial and Pereira both vying for being place holder until Dominguez returns. Soto would be a stretch for Yankees so Bellinger looks to be the target this winter. Dominguez, Bellinger and Judge.... nice outfield for 2024 season.

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Brad Scheller
Brad Scheller
24. Okt. 2023
Antwort an

Can't get enough LH hitters in Yankee Stadium. And Pereira still needs significant development at AAA.

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Alan B.
Alan B.
22. Okt. 2023

On Florial, because of Cashman and his gang, despite his tools - speed, lefty bat, a decent arm, and can go run down balls in the outfield, was really turned from prospect into organizational depth. Do not blame his injuries in 2018 & 2019 as a reason, because injuries to Albert Abreu in 2017, 2018, and 2019, still never dimmed him in their eyes. Due to injuries & ineffectiveness of others in 2021, 2022, & 2023, there were numerous opportunities to see what he can do, but no dice. It literally took Jasson Dominguez's injury to allow Florial to even play 5 consecutive games. Is he a long term Yankees OF, either as a starter or backup? I honestly…

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
23. Okt. 2023
Antwort an

If the Yankees don't want Florial, he has $0 MTV, so let Cashman DFA him and my Pirates will snag him for nothing and turn him into Roberto Clemente 2.0 -- LOL

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